S.I. Finals Predictions: Lakers over Cavs

Who will win the NBA Finals? Sports Illustrated brings in their experts to give their predictions.

odownedSports Illustraded: Ian Thomsen: Lakers over Cavs. Given the injuries to San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili and Boston’s Garnett, it looks as if L.A. and Cleveland are set up for a Finals between the league’s top two stars. Maybe Garnett can make it back to push the Celtics past Cleveland, but how often do you hear of a happy ending after an extended and murky injury like his? I’m not picking the Lakers in a blowout — the Cavs definitely could beat them — but L.A. has the advantage based on Bynum’s return and the promise of three playoff series for him to be fully integrated before the Finals.

Jack McCallum: Lakers over Cavs. L.A. will toy with the West, going through Utah, Houston and San Antonio without much trouble. The Cavs, meanwhile, will have a slightly more difficult path. I can see the old-pro Pistons getting a game or two in the first series, and Wade leading the Heat to at least two wins in the second round, before the Cavs beat Orlando (assuming Garnett is out) in six in the Eastern finals. In the Finals, I see the Lakers over the Cavs in six. L.A. has the avenge-last-season motivation, the defense to stop LeBron in spots, the coaching experience and a guy named Kobe.

Chris Mannix: Lakers over Cavs. The return of Bynum and news that the Celtics could be without Garnett effectively locks in the matchup many have been expecting for months. Home-court advantage definitely helps the Cavs — if you haven’t been to Quicken Loans Arena recently, think Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium — but I don’t see 18,000-plus rabid fans derailing the Lakers this time around. The Lakers’ only weakness is their vulnerability against teams that punch them in the mouth and bully them, but a healthy Boston was the only club really capable of doing that.

Steve Aschburner: Lakers over Cavs. The Lakers are more battle-tested as a unit and have a more wily big-stage coach. Then there’s this: Kobe will take very, very personally his duel for supremacy with LeBron, and he’ll have an easier time training his laser sight on one guy rather than, last year, Boston’s three.

Scott Howard-Cooper: Lakers over Cavs. The path through the East figures to be a lot more interesting than what should be a smooth ride for L.A. in a conference with the wounded Spurs, the unproven Nuggets and Trail Blazers, the fast-fading Jazz and the undependable Rockets, Hornets and Mavericks. The Lakers are not only the best team, but they also won’t have to face an opponent like the Magic (my preseason pick to win the East) or Celtics (if Garnett returns and is effective) before even reaching the Finals.

Chris Manning is a co-owner and video producer for TheLakersNation.com. In addition to his "LD2k" fan-video productions, Chris is working as the "Production Manager" for HS3; A Digital, Brand Strategy and Marketing company based in L.A. which represents the digital entities of numerous high-profile athletes. You can follow him on Twitter for a wide array of sports/Lakers talk!
  • daboss1848

    9 out of 10 ESPN writers picked LAL over BOS last year
    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/playoffs2008/series?series=lalbos

    jinx?

  • kobe8

    Trying to f*ckin JINX us. BITC*ES..

  • MzOnThaDubble

    This a brand new year nobody cares about last year.

  • gugy

    [Comment ID #68129 Will Be Quoted Here]

    I thought the same thing when I read the headline. Fu-ck those analysts.

    I do believe the LAkers will beat the Cavs, but I hate when people start celebrating or saying who will win before the final second of the last game of the finals.

    Remember last year. Do not get over confident. Focus and respect the opponents.

  • imfasterthanur

    Each series is a new season, there really is no such thing as expert analysis, so I could care less about us being the favorites.

    If there is one thing that’s spot on, however, it’s the fact that Kobe will not let anyone take his supreme title as the best player in the league. Regardless of Lebron more than likely getting the MVP award, I have a feeling Kobe will turn it up a notch during the post-season.

    Let’s go lakers!! Championship or bust!!

  • Mitch4Pres

    i hopes they right

  • WifelovesLuke

    Boss, you can really be a downer sometimes. LOL! But right is right. What should we take from this? Play like this is your last chance at a title!

  • daboss1848

    sorry wife, just trying to keep heads leveled in here . . . i remember how many fans were counting chickens last year before they hatched, and immediately searching for scapegoats after the eggs were snatched from our basket (Stern, refs, wheelchair, etc.)

    take these predictions with a grain of salt .. .

  • PaulGarnettReceivesAnal

    VAREGINA WILL BE THE DIFFERENCE!

  • ilikebasketball

    [Comment ID #68150 Will Be Quoted Here]

    as long as it’s not to the detriment of the team, or teammates. he still needs to not just jack up shots.

  • dem0n

    At least the confidence of winning this year rating is higher than the previous year which Bynum is back this year to help the Lakers. And didn’t we all expect that? They are writers, and writers look at the perspective from what they see (bandwagon). I put a few comments on here the last season that we wouldn’t have a chance w/o Bynum……..This season I will gamble that the Lakers will win. The Cav. will just follow the hype like the Lakers did last year (same goes for the MVP). As long as the Cav. doesn’t have a dominant center then Lakers will win. Winning / Losing is the fact that we have Bynum BACK!!

  • Lakers 24 7

    [Comment ID #68175 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Gold.

  • YellowPurpleFever

    This year we are a Different. We are healthy. We got physical: Bynamite, Josh, Shannon and Dacos
    and dont forget Pau has been lifting wt. since Summer
    Cant wait til Sunday. GO LAKERS!!!

  • lainok

    I forced myself this year to stop being so supersticious. So I don’t believe in a jinx. In years past, I would stop watching the game if I watched and they were losing. I would only wear laker gear on game day ( which including the playoffs is over a hundred). I believe the lakers will win because I am a diehard laker fan, and I think they will win it every year. Except the van exel years. those were rough.

  • sketch

    The Title will be the Lakers as long as the refs don’t make all the calls for LeHype and call Varegina for his fouls! Fcukin Side Show Mel is the dirtiest fcukin player in the League! He’s always tryin to low bridge people. And the fcukin refs never calls him for that $hit! And I thought that Stu Jackson and Stern of the NBA were supposed to review the games for this type of $hit? Just goes to show you that the NBA is trying anything to advance and prop up LeHype every chance they get! Fcuk them and LeHype and Varegina!